Two Orange County cities have joined 17 others and the unincorporated area in exceeding the state requirement to reduce the amount of garbage dumped in landfills by 25%, according to California's primary recycling agency.
Los Alamitos and Orange are the latest cities to meet goals established in 1989 to reduce landfill waste 50% by 2000.
A review of 531 cities in the state is expected to be completed by May. But many Orange County cities already are near or exceeding the 50% reduction goal.
California has reduced its landfill use by 32% since 1990, agency spokesman Eric Lamoureux said.
"We're very happy with these [results], particularly when you consider that before 1990, we were recycling between 13% and 14%," he said.
The announcement was welcome news at Orange Resource Recovery, a regional recycling center that operates Orange's recycling program and accepts trash from other area haulers.
"That's a good thing," co-owner Michael Hambarian said of Orange's recycling rate.
Like other recycling programs, the center filters trash for wood and construction materials, green waste such as branches and grass clippings, metal, paper, plastics and other items that can be recycled.
The other communities whose recycling rates are already approved are Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, La Palma, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Placentia, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Westminster, Yorba Linda and the county unincorporated area.
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These Orange County cities reviewed by the California Integrated Waste Management Board have achieved or exceeded state-imposed goals to reduce landfill trash by 25%. Cities are required to reduce trash deposits by 50% by 2000. Certified cities and their 1996 recycling rates:
Buena Park: 29%
Fountain Valley: 53%
Garden Grove: 52%
La Palma: 56%
Laguna Hills: 49%
Laguna Niguel: 41%
Los Alamitos: 35%
Mission Viejo: 46%
Newport Beach: 45%
San Juan Capistrano: 29%
Santa Ana: 27%
Seal Beach: 65%
Yorba Linda: 57%
Unincorporated area 38
Source: California Integrated Waste Management Board